How Effective?

Reducing vehicle speeds through use of 20 mph zones and physical traffic calming measures has been shown to reduce pedestrian RTIs. Their frequency of occurrence was reduced by as much as 63 per cent in one 1990s UK study. (D. Webster and A. Mackie, 1996)

Vehicle design has progressed to reduce injury risk to pedestrians. Euro NCAP crash testing now includes pedestrian safety ratings for new cars to include bumper design which minimises lower leg injury, and active bonnets which deploy to reduce injuries associated with strikes by cars with low bonnet lines. The deformation allowed by active bonnets absorbs energy and can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 30 per cent. (M. Avery and A. Weekes, nd)

A UK study is reported where pedestrians were given default green and vehicles stopped before being detected. This was trialled between 1993 and 1996 at two sites with high vehicle and pedestrian flows. The scheme reduced injuries between 36 per cent (including a 67 per cent drop in child RTIs). It is thought that the site specifics of both high vehicle and pedestrian flows were significant factors in successful application.

Advanced stop lines (i.e. moving the stop line back from the crossing) have been shown in a Canadian study to reduce pedestrian – vehicle conflict from 16.8 per cent to 4.3 per cent. A study in London found that advanced stop lines significantly reduced the number of encroaching vehicles going into the pedestrian crossing. (A. Martin, 2006)

Puffin crossings bring pedestrian safety benefits compared to Pelican crossings. A UK study showed that personal injury RTI frequencies were reduced by 24 per cent for all pedestrian RTIs. (A. Maxwell et al., 2011)

A cited Swedish study found that road surface condition was a factor in 78 per cent of incidents involving injured pedestrians but not involving a motor vehicle. Similarly, 70 per cent of pedestrian injuries were found to occur in winter. (ETSC, 1999)

Providing raised medians or refuge areas at unmarked crosswalk locations can reduce pedestrian RTIs by 39 per cent. At marked crosswalks, these countermeasures have resulted in even higher reductions (46 per cent). Providing walkways that are separated from the travel lanes can help to prevent up to 88 per cent of RTIs involving pedestrians walking along (not crossing) roadways. Roadways without sidewalks are more than twice as likely to have pedestrian RTIs as locations with sidewalks on both sides of the street. (J. Bartlett et al., 2012)

A programme of countermeasures combining education, enforcement and engineering treatments has demonstrated safety improvements. In Miami-Dade County (Florida) four high pedestrian risk RTI zones were identified and local knowledge utilised to apply a suitable blend of counter measures. At the peak of countermeasure use, the programme reduced county wide pedestrian RTI rates by 8.5 and 13.3 per cent (depending on control group comparison). Due to over-lapping counter measures it was not possible to attribute success to individual interventions. (C. Zegeer et al., 2008)

Gaps in the research

Considering pedestrian (and cyclist) safety across the EU in 1999, the ETSC identified gaps in knowledge, including:

  • Understanding the safety implications of large increases in walking;

  • Quantifying casualties from walking without involvement of a motor vehicle; and,

  • Monitoring the effectiveness of education on pedestrian safety.

(ETSC, 1999)

Most research into pedestrians at crossings considers behaviour and compliance, rather than safety. No direct evidence has been found to suggest that measures which improve compliance (for example making pedestrian signals more responsive), actually reduce RTIs. Most existing research relating to pedestrian behaviour is for mid-block crossings rather than junctions. Pedestrians are at increased risk at junctions that have complex staging arrangements. (J. Kennedy and B. Sexton, 2009)

There is a lack of existing guidance relating to road safety training for adults with learning disabilities. (S. Kay, 2009)


  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012, 08:17 AM
  • Last Update: 11 Dec 2017, 03:58 PM